Sheep Breeding & Farming

Sheep Breeding & Farming

For centuries, sheep were the basis of the traditional economy of the Duyes valley, with each rural family having a small flock of 30 to 40 livestock. The sheep livestock were mainly raised for their wool. This breeding sheep primarily for their wool, associated with the cultivation of hemp, enabled the development of a small textile industry. In 1775, 50 cloth weavers were recorded in Thoard.

At the beginning of the last century, the breeders massively turned to meat production. Little by little the number of flocks decreased while their size of fewer flocks increased. Then the poor sales of lambs reared by the mother's milk led many farmers to abondon sheep farming. But in 1953, Thoard and six neighbouring Municipal Districts joined forces to create a Sheep Farming Enterprise Programme for the area. Thanks to well-managed and well-used subsidies, the tradition of sheep breeding was saved in the valley. Today, sheep are still a vital part of the local economy. There are 15,000 to 20,000 ewes on 30 to 35 farms.

Every year, on the Saturday following August 15th, the Ewe and Ram Fair takes place in Thoard, bringing together several hundred ewes of the local breed Préalpes du Sud (Southern Alpine Foothills breed), aged between 4 and 6 months.
In December, the Wool Fair takes place, while in February, the Saint Blaise (Saint Blaze) celebration (protector of the flocks and Patron Saint of the local Parish) is a great pagan festival where the end of winter is celebrated.



UNESCO Géoparc de Haute-Provence
Musée Promenade
Parc Saint-Benoît BP 30 156


+33(0)4 92 36 70 70


L’UNESCO Géoparc de Haute-Provence est un service de Provence Alpes Agglomération,
administré au travers d’une Entente Intercommunale avec la Communauté de Communes du Sisteronais-Buëch
et financé par la région Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur et le Conseil Départemental de Haute-Provence.

Provence Alpes AgglomérationCommunauté de communes du sisteronnais buëch
Région Sud Provence Alpes Côte d'AzurConseil départemental Alpes de Haute-Provence

Tous droits réservés - 2019 © - UNESCO GÉOPARC DE HAUTE PROVENCE - Politique de confidentialité - Crédits photos - Mentions légales